Skip to comments.Beslan ushers in Putin’s new age of terror
Posted on 10/16/2004 4:53:56 PM PDT by MadIvan
The Russian leaders journalistic nemesis, Anna Polikovskaya, reveals the brutal truth about her country today
Over the greater part of Russia, October sees the beginning of the winter frosts. This year it also finds the country in the leaden grip of a seemingly endless process of mourning. Last week saw the 40th day of our remembrance of those who died at Beslan. The second anniversary of the Nord-Ost tragedy, when many died after a siege at a Moscow theatre, will fall on October 23-26.
In the middle of that anniversary, on October 24, it will be two months since two women, Chechen suicide bombers, blew up two aircraft almost simultaneously. As if that were not enough, this month sees the fifth anniversary of the second Chechen war, officially referred to by the Russian government as an anti-terrorist operation.
This is a terrorist campaign visited by the Russian state on the peoples of Chechnya and Ingushetia, which now serves only to provoke further terrorism. Votive candles for the dead are the consumer goods most in demand in Russia. We are burning ourselves up in our own terrorist and anti- terrorist Molotov cocktail. What is the Kremlin doing about this situation? What remedies has our top leadership come up with to save the Russian people from living in fear and under the threat of terrorism? Well, first President Vladimir Putin gave a grim speech in which, in the style of President George W Bush, he described what was going on in Russia as a war. War is war and he promised serious measures.
Alas, we soon found out that the Kremlins strategy included nothing along the lines of a Putin road map for finally settling the Chechen crisis, which lies at the root of the problem.
He proposed instead to abolish the direct election of provincial governors, thus undermining the constitution and doing away with the countrys political foundation of federalism. He proposed that the president should be empowered to dissolve Russias legislative assemblies without legal safeguards and that all parliamentary deputies must be attached to a political party, ruling out the possibility of political activists standing as independents.
In a lather of craven servility the two chambers of our parliament, the Duma and the federal council, hastened to acquiesce, promising to ratify everything just as quickly as they could. The prosecutor-generals office, charged under the constitution with ensuring observance of the law in Russia, got in on the act by introducing a number of amendments to the criminal code. Not only did these increase the severity of penalties for terrorism and corruption, which would have been justified and generally acceptable to society, but they also abolished the crucial and fundamental principle that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, in the case of those suspected of terrorism or corruption.
The prosecutors office proposes that the burden of proving innocence ought to rest with the suspect. Even a selective abolition of the presumption of innocence has a simple corollary: nobody is innocent any more. In todays Russia this will mean that anybody on whom the security services need to pin anything can be found guilty.
The government is preparing an anti-terrorist inquisition, an anti-terrorist terror on the back of Putins political rampage as he exploits the Beslan tragedy. Incapable of ruling democratically, he is trying to build a police state in the Soviet image with himself at the head.
He has proclaimed a doctrine of isolationism as a means of survival in a period of fighting international terrorism. It is Bolshevism for the 21st century, allowing agents of the security services to combat those they have already described as the new enemies of the people using every means at their disposal. Except their brains: they need make no effort to collect evidence.
In its burdensome history Russia has had a Red terror, the Bolshevik terror that took its name from the colour of Lenins flag; a White terror, the response of the White army to the Reds. Now, reflecting the blue of his secret policemens epaulettes, we are to have Putins red, white and FSB-blue terror.
The new state terror was first restricted to Chechnya, where there has already been no presumption of innocence for five years and which is an anti-terrorist zone, a ghetto where anyone can be arrested. Nobody has been able to count on knowing what crime he or she is alleged to have committed before being tortured, shot and vanishing.
With the Kremlins encouragement, nobody in the federal security services has given a thought to the rule of law in Chechnya or, subsequently, in Ingushetia. The prosecutors office has viewed this shameful lawlessness as an unavoidable side effect in restoring federal rule. The consequences have been appalling: some of those whom the authorities had ceased to regard as human beings have turned into animals, the brutes who perpetrated Beslan.
What is going to change as a result of the anti-terrorist terror that Putin is organising? We may rest assured that the number of terrorist plots the security forces claim to have foiled will rise. Not a day will go by without a success. The intelligence agencies and police will catch all the terrorists and their accomplices, who will confess all. The president will award medals to the security forces so fast that he will run out of supplies.
Acts of terrorism will, however, continue so he will need to come up with something else. Our president will erect an iron curtain because, according to our new ideology, all the enemies will be from outside Russia, since all the ones inside have been caught.
Still the acts of terrorism will continue. The president will have no choice but to give in to the pleas of the Russian people to restore capital punishment. Restore the death penalty, abandon the presumption of innocence and Russia will be out of Europe.
The brainwashing will begin, to persuade us that this enemy court is a waste of time because those who are pure have nothing to fear and those making all the noise must be impure. In every town and village of Russia there are those with whom scores remain to be settled among the police, the FSB secret police, the mayors and governors sliding down the greasy pole of power. Time to get rid of enemies at that level, too.
The authorities are so afraid of us. Every age has its own characteristics. Russia in Brezhnevs time was cynically demented. Yeltsins reign was a time for casting your net wide and seeing how much you could catch. Now it is the Age of Putin, an era of cowardice, and the more afraid he becomes, the more he tightens the screws. Cowards cannot counter terrorism. That is something only the resolute and the intelligent can do.
Today we stand on the brink of an abyss. This month the funeral marches played in memory of the victims of terrorism seem to accompany the funeral of Russian democracy. The opposition has been routed and is almost silent. A political winter is closing in and nobody can tell how long we may have to wait for the next thaw.
How have Europe and the world in general taken Putins anti- terrorist policies? Viewing their reaction from Moscow, it seems they have simply turned a blind eye to it all. Instead all we get is the vodka, the caviar, the gas, the oil, the bears, people of a certain profession . . . exotic Russia seems all still to be in place.
This article is another one of the hit pieces blaming the victims (Russians) for work of the terrorists (Chechens.) The author of this article, Anna Polikovskaya, is the Tokyo Rose propaganda machine for the terrorists.
Maybe, but when I read of Putin's "response" in the WSJ you could have colored me dubious at best. I'm (truly) all ears: how will Putin's response improve matters?
There - I don't have to read any more than that. This woman could go to work for MoveOn.org and fit right in.
I have only one question: Is Putin a megalomaniac, or is he doing this because he's got Islamic terrorist states RIGHT ON HIS BORDERS??
Until I hear some solid evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume it's the latter, and that once the Islamikazis have been wiped out (and that's evidently what it's going to take), Russia will be able to reclaim whatever "democratic" rights have been lost.
«KRITIKA SO STORONY PRESSY POLEZNA DLYA VSEKH UROVNEY VLASTI». (V.V. PUTIN, 24.09.2004)
"Criticism on the part of the press is useful for all levels of the regime" (V.V. Putin, September 24th, 2004)
I have mixed feelings about Politskovskaya. I hate her Euro-cynicism, but do admire her tenacity. After two (three?) attempts on her life, she may be the Russian free press's martyr-in-waiting.
Too bad we haven't had journalists like that in 50 years.
Why does she bother? It must be a Russian thing. Someone recently wrote me about this character trait:
Znaesh' li tu russkuyu skazku pro dvukh lyagushek, kotorye popali v banki s molokom? Odna podumala - vse ravno mne otsyuda ne vybrat'sya, slozhila lapki i utonula. Drugaya dolgo-dolgo barakhtalas', sbila maslo, zalezla na nego i vybralas'...Here's Ms. Politkovskaya's review of Fahrenheit 911, FWIW.
"Do you know the Russian fairy tale about the two frogs, who fell into the milk can? One thought - it doesn't matter, I'll never get out of here, and so it stopped swimming and drowned. The other frog floundered about in the milk for a long-long time, until it churned out a piece of butter, climbed up on top and jumped out..."
I'm coming up with a graphic for that. Thanks!
(Ever hopeful ... =)
We should become allies with Russia against Islam. Islam is our enemy.
And we are its enemy.
I've done several googlings and can't come up with the images.
Would someone here do me a favor and attempt to retrieve them? I've tried on two different OS...very odd.
That said, I don't feel a whole lot of sympathy for old Vladimir after the news of the Russians spiriting away Saddam's weapons. Soooo, I'm withholding my comments on this whole issue until further news surfaces.